Is it correct that a spouse will not be required to give post separation support or alimony if the financial potential of their spouse is greater than theirs? For example, I have a M.Ed. and am certified to be a school counselor in NC, however, I have been applying to jobs in my field since 2009 but have not been hired in my field. In June of 2010 I did get an offer from a retail store and took a job out of my professional field that pays less than whan I could earn as a school counselor. My spouse has a bachelor’s degree and has the potential to be a teacher but has chosen to be a truck driver. I did have a job as a school counselor between June of 2007 and June of 2009 and was paying our rent during that time. When my job situation changed my mother paid our rent until sometime in the spring of 2010 when my spouse landed other employment and I began working my retail job. My spouse left our home in August of 2011 and stated he would give me no money. I did not make enough to pay the rent for our apartment on my own or even to afford a one bedroom where we were living. It would have been tough to pay rent for any regular apartment situation on what I was making. I made the decision to move from north carolina to another state as I have the oportunity to be with relatives and although I am paying them rent, it is a situation where they are willing to let me pay to cover their extra expenses - not what a normal rent would cost. I have a son from a previous marriage; my spouse does not have any legal ties with him. What are my legal rights? Thank you. M
Post-separation support and alimony is determined by first deciding if there was a dependent spouse in the marriage. After that, you would look to the parties’ most recent incomes prior to separation. Income potential is not really relevant unless you can show that one spouse is deliberately suppressing their income in bad faith to avoid paying as much in support as they ought to be. Actual income is what is looked at in most cases.